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While many search engines still rely on keywords for rankings, many others also include the number and type of links on a site. Google was the pioneer of this process. Their PageRank software assesses page value by the number of links. For example, a link from the home page to a products page is counted as one vote, i.e., page A voted for page B as an important link. PageRank also analyzes the page that casts the vote using other criteria. In doing so, it ranks the voting page in its importance. Important pages are ranked higher in the search results because the software has not only analyzed its content, but also the content of pages linked to it.

Linking to other pages in your site and linking to other websites is only part of the strategy. You also want other sites to link to you. This is called “reciprocal linking”.

Here’s how it works. Find other sites that have the same or complementary subject matter. Place a link to them on the favorite links page on your site. Then email the webmaster or owner of the site and ask that they place a link on their site back to yours. Tell them what you liked about their site and why you think an exchange of links would be beneficial.

Don’t be too worried if you receive rejections or no replies from your offer. This is ordinary. Some sites have a policy against reciprocal linking. Once you have a link on their site, be sure to send a thank you email.

To find sites that readily offer reciprocal links, go to a search engine such as and type in “Add URL” in the search window. Sites that offer this will pop right up in the results.

Use some caution in doing this. Some search engines, particularly Google, penalize sites that link too many sites to them too quickly. Spammers love to use this technique to improve rankings and you can find yourself blacklisted if 500 new links suddenly show up on your site in any given month.

Like everything related to your web marketing strategies, build slowly and deliberately. You’re in this for the long haul. Improved rankings don’t happen overnight.

How do you know if other sites have linked to you? A good tool is available at In the search window type in: (substituting your own website URL, of course). Click the Find button and a list of sites that are linked to yours will appear. You may find it interesting to see who is really linked to you. Over time, this list should grow and expand, not only through your own efforts to get reciprocal links but through backlinking.

What’s backlinking? It is the ideal method of linking. You already know that search engines like sites that are linked to other sites. But they really love ones that have been linked purely because another site owner thought your site was a valuable resource. A backlink is just a link on another site that goes to yours but you don’t have one going back to them. It is the most trusted link in ranking sites because there was obviously no solicitation, no reciprocity and no advertising dollars involved. Again, you can check these through the link: capability on a site such as